Nearly 40% of the U.S. population is over 65 years old, making concerns of senior citizens one of the general public. With mounting health care costs, applying the simplest possible care to keep the aging population healthy is essential.
That’s why the importance of diet and exercise for seniors cannot be ignored. With both disease prevention and improved medical outcomes related directly back to diet and exercise in the senior population, it’s essential to prioritize both in home care.
If you are in need of home care or provide home care for an aging family member or client, learn the importance of diet and exercise in maintaining their health and reducing disease.
Importance of Diet
Why is diet important? The phrase “you are what you eat” is rooted in truth. Continuing to consume healthy food is important. Maintaining nutrition as one ages can help reduce symptoms of current conditions and prevent new diseases from forming.
Nutrition and the Aging Body
It’s important to realize that health strategies that work for younger people may not work for the aging population. Similarly, digestion may not be as efficient, making it difficult to be fully nourished by a diet that has previously worked for you.
Working with a health professional to get a good idea of needed macronutrients and what a balanced meal plan looks like can help. They may suggest eating more frequently to fit in enough calories.
Meet with an expert and talk about how you can have a simple, easy-to-stick-to meal plan that accommodates any dietary needs. Discuss any supplements that may help you reach balanced nutrition.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
This is true for both gaining too little or gaining too much weight as you age.
Some may struggle to eat enough at they age. This may be due to medication side effects or a common condition called dysphagia that makes it difficult to swallow.
Regardless of the root cause, if you are struggling with a condition that makes it hard for you to eat, consulting your doctor about how to maintain a healthy weight is important. There are simple solutions such as calorie-dense shakes that can pack a lot of nutrients into one easy-to-consume serving.
On the other hand, gaining too much weight as you age is also a serious concern. If your mobility has become limited due to a physical condition or recovery from surgery, adjust your caloric income.
There isn’t a single system in the body that functions independently of nutrition. From the immune system to kidney function, getting in the right nutrients is essential to maintain health.
Evidence continues to mount linking brain and cognitive function to diet. Opting for a healthier diet may prevent serious degradation of your cognition over time.
Importance of Exercise
Many people who suffer from chronic pain are disappointed when they are told the best solution is to move the parts of their body that hurt. But there are many reasons why exercise offers pain relief, improves mood, and prevents further disorders.
It may seem overly simplified, but moving your muscles keeps them warm and loose. Muscles and their attached ligaments and tendons become stiff and painful when held in the same position all of the time.
Exercise will loosen those muscles right up. Less stiffness can reduce pain.
Strength and Balance
Exercise improves strength and balance. Those who maintain strength and balance as they age are at less risk of injury from things like accidental falls.
Some exercise classes are targeted specifically for seniors who wish to improve their strength and balance. Investing time into these classes can improve your quality of life over the long run.
It is a well-established fact that exercise releases chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These are the types of chemicals that help you feel happy and relaxed.
Exercising for endorphin release is a common goal, but it can be especially important for the senior population. Depression can occur amongst the aging just like any other generation.
Maintaining good mental health into retirement and beyond is important. It can help you tackle other challenges that crop up, and keep you feeling well longer.
Lowering Chances of Secondary Conditions
Exercise can help prevent incidences of new or secondary conditions that are common in the aging population. Diabetes and heart disease, for instance, are affected by positive exercise programs.
With the rates of diabetes and heart disease high amongst the aging population and the consequences of them significant, take steps to prevent these conditions. Both diet and exercise can keep you heart-healthy well into your golden years.
It may be the easiest way to prevent dementia that we know about: taking a walk around the block. Active seniors who are able to engage in exercise show less of a risk for cognitive dysfunction as they age.
Take steps to prevent cognitive decline by adding simple activity into your routine. From a walk to a group fitness class with friends, protecting your brain starts with your body.
Healing after Surgery
Though surgical recovery can be one of the most difficult physical periods in your life, moving around is shown to improve outcomes.
From preventing blood clots to ease minor aches and pains, part of the benefits of moving around after surgery is better healing. In fact, it can even get you to heal faster. Schedule regular, gentle movement into your post-surgical care.
FAFHC Knows the Importance of Diet and Exercise
At Family Always First Home Care, we know the importance of diet and exercise for seniors in our care. Having care from a family member or friend makes it easier to stick to diet and exercise routines that are part of your normal life.
That’s why our “family always first” maxim means we make it possible for you to get care from people you already know and trust. And your carer is compensated for the time they spend working with you. Hire a caregiving service now!
Find out if your family is eligible for family-first home care and the CDPAP program. Keep a healthy diet and exercise routine, together.